Day 6 (30/01/2014) – Our last full day in Chiang Mai. 20140130_170055 I told my sister Angelita, before our trip to Thailand, that I would love any opportunity to spend time with elephants at an elephant sanctuary. We had not pre-booked anywhere to see elephants, so it was hard to find a place that was not already full. Luckily, however, we managed to get a morning at the Ran-Ton Elephant Camp, not our first choice, but I had read good reviews of this place, where they look after their elephants well and are helping to combat the declining numbers of elephants in Thailand through a breeding program, as well as practising a safe and humane tourism model for their elephants that have in the past often suffered from abusive situations. We were picked up from our hotel at 7 am, to be driven on a pickup truck about 1 hour out of Chiang Mai. On the way, we stopped to pick up 2 Canadian girls and another couple from Kent (England), although he was English and she was Polish. It was quite chilly in the cool morning air as we sped along, but everyone was very friendly and the chatter and exchange of travel stories and tips kept our minds off the chill. After quite a bumpy, but not unpleasant, ride through the North of Thailand’s countryside via lovely green farmland and rice paddies, we arrived at the elephant park (about 1 hour out of Chiang Mai). 20140130_091334 It was a very humble place with some facilities such as a toilet, changing room and a little stall selling small gifts. The gift crafts were mostly made by Burmese women. I bought some beautiful colourful bracelets from them. P1010424P1010428 We were given trousers to change into since the elephant skins are hard and scratchy and can hurt your legs if you are not wearing trousers. We were also given a very colourful top to wear. Later  we were glad to have had these clothes on since we got soaked at the river and it was nice to change back into our own dry clothes. We felt like honorary Mahouts for few hours.20140130_092958 We started off by being introduced to a 3-year-old baby elephant, incredibly cute and we fed him more bananas than seemed possible, he could not have enough bananas, and we got hugs and sloppy kisses from him in return. read more

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